Ladurée

Ladurée makes what I consider the best macarons anywhere. And apparently so do many others: the four shops of Ladurée in Paris sell 12,000 macarons each day, over four million per year.

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Many Americans raise an eyebrow when confronted with their first French macaron, since macaroons in the US are normally chewy, egg white-based cookies heaped with shredded coconut. But both the French macaron and the American macaroon are based on the crisp Italian meringue cookies made of whipped egg whites, sugar, and ground almonds or bitter apricot kernels, called amaretti. However Ladurée gives credit to Pierre Desfontaines, a distant cousin of founder Louis Ernest Ladurée, who they claim first joined two disks of crisp macarons together with buttercream and ganache fillings in mini-sandwiches to create the now-classic Ladurée . But prior to Ladurée’s creation, the original French macaron had no filling; while still warm from the oven, macarons were joined together at their bases, fusing together as they cooled.

Aside from taking credit for providing Paris with their now-legendary macarons and other sweet treats, the wife of Monsieur Ladurée decided soon after the original bakery opened in 1862 that she would open a the first salon de thé in Paris, where a woman could sit unescorted and not be considered ‘loose’. (My French dictionary doesn’t have a definition for ‘loose woman’…but if you come to Paris and want to see zaftig dames offering their services, take a stroll down the rue Blondel.)

Recently, the macaron wars have been raging in Paris, as pâtissieres try to outdo each other by introducing wild and over-the-top flavors and outrageous packaging. Ladurée has of course entered the fray but with dignity and class, avoiding some of the silliness I’ve seen.

Recently Ladurée macaron flavors include jet-black reglisse (licorice), herbaceous anis vert (anise), and the au courant flavor-combination-of-the-moment in Paris, citron vert-basilic (lime-basil).

But to me, the there’s nothing better than the Ladurée classics: chocolat amer (bittersweet chocolate), dark café, and my absolute favorite, caramel-beurre-salé, a duo of almond-rich macaron cookies oozing smooth caramel…enriched with salted butter.

Ladurée
16, rue Royale
Tel: 01 42 60 21 79
Mètro: Madeleine or Concorde

Related Links and Recipes

Making French Macarons

Sweet and Stinky

My Paris

The Best Candy Shop in Paris

10 Insanely Delicious Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Paris

I Love Macarons (Amazon)

Ketchup Macaron Recipe


French Chocolate Macaron Recipe

12 comments

  • What a beautiful photo! Those macarons look and sound delicious – wish I was there!

  • Kelly:

    …and they tasted delicious too!

  • Please don’t slight the lemon or the raspberry versions they are sooooo goood! To think I’ve only had about 10 of these in my life–am I deprived or what?

  • EEAAYARHRAHAR!! *the sound of seething macaron jealousy*

    I love macarons.

  • Hello Mr. Lebovitz,
    Last month I was in Paris, and convinced (easily) my husband to taste with me the four famous “houses” of Macarons. I don’t have a sweet tooth (sorry, no chocolate for me) but I love macaroons since I was a student in Paris ( a long, long, very long time ago). So we tested Laduree, Herme, Mulot and Delloyau. We tasted some cakes too. In my very humble opinion, Herme’s macarons are the best. Not so with his cakes which in my opinion are over estimated, and much too sweet. Laduree come second and then Mulot and Dalloyau. As for cakes, I liked Mulot best, especially the tarts and the clafoutis. But as I said, I’m not a cake eater, so I may be wrong.
    Simona

  • I absolutely love Laduree! The blue box is my kind of Tiffany eating! But don’t knock the American macaroon–particularly the one in your cookbook. A friend and I entered them into a Chowhound picnic (SF) a few years ago and placed first! We fully disclosed the source ;-)

    Jeanne

  • David, I SWEAR to you that I didn’t see this post before my reply to your comment on the Antojeria!

    God, what I would do for a proper macaron — the caramel beurre sale, in particular is causing my salivary glands to go into overdrive.

  • Macarons in Art!
    Lenotre sells ceramic serving pieces and teacup sets decorated with pastel-colored macarons.
    I’ve never tasted their macarons, but the pattern is so cheery and eye-catching.

  • My god. I dream of those things. When I come to Paris in November can you take me on a Macaron tour?

    I was just in Montreal and had a macaron that was as light as a cloud. For a second it swept me away to Paris. In sharp contrast I had one in NYC a few weeks ago and it was crispy and crunchy. I don’t think they are suppose to be crunchy.

    Wouldn’t it be cool to open a shop that just sells macarons? All different flavors with the flavor of the day.

  • I was looking at your cookbook last night and I did notice that you in fact have a “coconut Macaroon” recipe, not the French almond style. What a pity.

    Also I wanna make that Summer Pudding but currants are no where to be found. What do you suggest? What about blueberries? (email me).

  • I work in an organic bakery where the owner makes lovely macarons in different flavours, inspired by those in Paris. If you plan a holiday in Australia you must visit baker d chirico in Melbourne because the bread is incredible- you would love the wholewheat loaves…
    I want to go to Paris!!

  • Laduree is now way too industrial. They actually have stores in the airport, and while their macarons are good, they are far from the best. I have tested the famous Champs-Elysee store, and though it is indeed beautiful, the macarons were too dry and somewhat bland. If you can make it, the BEST macarons are in Rennes, at Bouvier (parcheminerie). They are truly divine. It’s truly a local gem, and the flavors are outstanding and adequate! The moist interior with the perfectly formed exterior… makes me want to go get some right now! Honestly though, Laduree does not (no longer, perhaps) live up to the hype.